Your sweet baby with perfect baby skin has suddenly developed a red rash on her cheeks! Before you know it, the red bumps and rash are getting worse, and your baby won’t stop scratching at her face. Is it baby acne, an infection? All you know is that strangers are asking what’s wrong with your baby and you’re at your wits end trying to stop the scratching!
Baby acne and baby face eczema may start out looking similar but baby acne is not itchy and is usually seen around the center of the face. Baby face eczema will be on the checks and is itchy. Baby face eczema as opposed to baby acne needs a specific sensitive skin care regimen with possible medication during flare-ups. Below we’ll discuss some ways to minimize the suffering associated with baby face eczema.
Eczema usually develops in babies around 4-6 months of age. You may or may not have suffered with itchy or sensitive skin yourself so it can be confusing and upsetting when your child develops it. Eczema shows up in a comprised skin barrier letting in allergens and irritants causing your baby’s skin to rash and itch. Baby face eczema can be one of the most frustrating skin issues for a parent. People want to know what’s wrong and offer advice on how to clear it up. Model Chrissy Teigen posted a photo of her baby on social media with the telltale sign of baby face eczema and added an explanation for the rosy cheeks “……….Yes she has rosy eczema cheeks, yes we are taking care of it, no it’s not a gluten allergy, no it’s not our makeup, no it’s not from our perfume, yes she’s just a baby” explaining to fans that she’s on top of it!
Why the cheeks? Your baby’s sensitive face rests on many things throughout the day, your shoulder, the crib sheet or a play mat. There may also be saliva from drool or left over breast milk or formula left on the cheeks. These things can irritate already sensitive skin and if your baby has a predisposition for eczema or allergies it may cause their cheeks to flare. At AD RescueWear, we empathize with the struggle to control baby face eczema. My son first showed signs of eczema on his cheeks and head. He scratched at his cheeks constantly and rubbed them until they bled. Nothing seemed to help. We finally went to an allergist who diagnosed the condition as eczema.
If you notice a red, bumpy, itchy rash that begins on the cheeks and won’t go away, gets worse or starts to bleed or crust, visit your pediatrician, allergist or dermatologist. They can check to see if it's infected and may suggest using a low dose over the counter 1% hydrocortisone cream to get the rash under control. Once the rash is calmed by the hydrocortisone, a daily skin care routine including an emollient applied throughout the day to cheeks, can provide a barrier between your baby’s face and irritants.
Below are some steps we followed for a daily skin care routine:
- First, gently clean the cheeks with water or a small amount of your baby’s most gentle cleanser. Avoid cleansers with fragrance that can be irritating.
- Second, gently pat the cheeks dry with a soft towel.
- Third and most important, moisturize and add a protective barrier of emollient! While cheeks are still damp, add a layer of emollient such as Vaniply to moisturize and protect your baby’s cheeks from drool and other irritants.
- After cleaning food or drool from your baby’s face, gently dry the area, then apply another layer of barrier emollient. Avoid letting the skin air dry which can further dry the skin.
- Make sure to keep your baby’s nails clipped without rough edges which can do damage and cut the skin.
- To prevent more damage from scratching, it can be helpful to dress your baby in soft and breathable clothing with fold over hand covers to prevent damage from little fingers. The AD RescueWear Wrap-E-Soothe Suit is made with super soft TENCEL® fabric and was specifically designed with fold over hand covers.
- Maintain a skin care routine throughout the day especially after nap time, playing on the floor or eating.
- Add moisture to the air by using a humidifier.
- Regularly wash crib sheets in a fragrance free, gentle detergent.
- Vacuum daily if you have pets and suspect your child may be allergic to the pet dander.
Enjoy your sweet baby and don't fret too much! In most cases, baby face eczema clears up as they get older.